Enjoy a taste of Africa with these luxuriously whipped sweet potatoes, Swahili inspired braised greens known as Sukuma Wiki and a smoky spiced steak, for quite the feast in less than 30 minutes. Yes please!
The recipe is inspired by different varieties of 'starch' as we call it. A staple of African cooking - I am using sweet potatoes but traditionally you will find locals basing their meals around ground corn, cassava, plantains and more cooked and pounded or mashed, accompanied by seafood or meat and most importantly greens. This is a combination I have enjoyed and seen in its many guises, growing up in Nigeria and travelling across the African continent.
"Stretch the week" in Swahili
These braised greens known as Sukuma Wiki are incredibly popular across East Africa, especially in Kenya and Tanzania. A dish known for its frugality, and a celebration of abundance of greens in the region. We have it all, from pumpkin leaves, collard greens, amaranth, different varieties of spinach and many more. The locals enjoy the greens with Ugali, a stiff maize porridge, often as a meat free meal with a salad of tomatoes and onions. Or alongside meats or fish. While in Kenya, I have often been fed a simply spiced version of this sauce. My version is also inspired by the Nigerian style of cooking greens - for example with Efo, another braised green dish with amaranth, peppers and chillies. I love to include peppers or chillies and a dash of smoked paprika for that almost inimitable smoky flavour.
Sweet potatoes and a variety of leafy greens are usually available in my home in the UK and so on this occasion, feeling rather tired, not very inspired but really hungry, I put this dish together in under 30 minutes and it was such a treat. I loved using the organic cold pressed avocado oil that features in many of my recipes, for its buttery texture and mildly fruity flavour. You can use butter or cream instead to enrich and thicken your sweet potatoes.
Swap the steak for mushrooms like the meaty king oysters or simple chestnut mushrooms. Thickly sliced, coiled hot and fast in a sizzling pan for a delightful plant-based version.
Cooking time: 20 - 30 minutes
For the sweet potato mash
2 - 3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 fat clove of garlic, grated
2 tbsp avocado oil
2 tbsp of milk
For the braised greens
250g Spinach (or substitute with your favourite greens)
2 tbsp avocado oil (or rapeseed, groundnut, olive)
1 small onion, diced
2 red chillies, finely minced
1 small vegetable stock cube
1 tsp smoked paprika
For the steak
1 tbsp avocado oil (or your preferred oil)
250g rib eye steak
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 tbsp avocado oil or butter
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 tsp Nigella Seeds
Lerato's Tips: If using baby spinach, no blanching is needed as they are tender, but when cooking sturdier leafy greens, remove any tough stalks and finely chop what's left to help it cook quickly. If the leaves are sturdy, blanch for about 5 minutes, drain thoroughly and squeeze out as much liquid as you can, as the greens will release li quid back into your dish. You can chop or tear your greens before using them.
Let’s get cooking!
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